The award assessments create revenue which is deposited into the Subsequent Injury Fund (SIF). The Fund pays claimant benefits as well as the operating expenditures of the agency. The basis for the assessments is all awards of compensation for any permanent condition, including permanent partial. Note that the assessment is levied on all permanency awards, not just those involving the SIF. The amounts of any settlement agreements are also included in the assessment base. The current assessment rate is 6.5% for the SIF. Each award is individually assessed with a Notice of Assessment being sent to the appropriate employer/insurer.
Payment is expected to be made on assessments within 30 days from the date of the notice. The increased use of third party administrators sometimes results in notices not being sent to the proper location. Employers/insurers are requested to forward the notices appropriately. Delinquent notices are sent after 30 days as a reminder, and after 90 days the unpaid account is sent to the State Central Collection Unit. A collection fee of 17% is added to the amount due. Any discrepancy in the amount due may be resolved by calling the telephone number provided on the notice.
Permanent total awards, due to the fact that they are awarding payments for life, result in an assessment being levied each year. The assessment is made for the one year period starting each October 1st. Thus, the assessment is for benefits that are expected to be paid during the upcoming year. In the event of the death of a PT claimant or the settlement of his claim, the insurer is to notify the SIF and a refund will be calculated based upon the benefits that were not paid. A similar situation operates in a fatal total award in which payments are made to a minor. Upon the minor's attainment of majority, this office should be notified.
Settlement agreements wherein an annuity contract is purchased for the claimant are assessed based upon the cost of annuity plus any "up front money", not the full pay out value. An inquiry to obtain this information will precede the issuance of an assessment notice.
As noted above, each assessment is against one claim only. While it is most helpful if the copy of the assessment notice is returned with payment, we realize that many automated payment systems cannot easily accommodate this. It is, however, vital that the claim number assigned by the Workers' Compensation Commission be provided for the assessment being paid. The claim number may be on an attached remittance advice or on the check itself. If one check is paying for several assessments, it is necessary to show the claim numbers and amounts being paid for each.